Friday, October 29, 2010

Hardicanute, 1018-42, and Gunhild (Kunigunde), son and daughter of Cnut the Great and Emma of Normandy. Gunhild ~ king Henrik III of Germany.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Hardicanute, 1018-42, king, son of Cnut the Great
and Emma, was appointed king in Denmark 1028, but
since he after his father's death stayed too long
in Denmark, his halfbrother Harald was elected king
of England. H. had been busy fighting Norway's
king Magnus, but he finally had an agreement with
him and could in 1039 go with a fleet to Flandern
to his mother. Harald died shortly after,and the
English magnates agreed in summoning H., who was
crowned king in June 1040. His rule did not last
for long, the weak king died 8. June 1042, when he
at a wedding toasted the bride; he was buried in
Winchester by his father's side.

Unfortunately there is nothing good to be told about
this last male of the Danish kings' family in
England; he had persecuted his opponents in a brutal
way, he had taunted his brother's body and imposed a
considerable war tax, which caused unrest in the

Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Dictionary of National Biography XXIV.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Gunhild, ab.1020-1038, daughter of Cnut the Great.
In his marriage to Aethelred's widow Emma of
Normandy Knud had two children, Hardicanute and
G. In June 1035 Knud arranged with Emperor Conrad
II a marriage between G. and the emperor's son
king Henrik, the later Henrik III, but Knud never
saw the marriage established, since he died 12
November 1035. The wedding took place in great
splendor in June 1036 in Nimwegen, where G. was
crowned and took the name Kunigunde.
G. is described as a fine and delicate woman with
a body and mind like a child. She had a weak
constitution and died after 2 years of marriage
18 July 1038; she had only one child, the daughter
Beatrix, who became an abbess.

Legend and folklore has incorrectly transferred to
G. the tale about a queen, who by her husband's
accussation of adultry proved her innocence by
letting a dwarf defend her in a fight with a giant
and defeat him.

Steindorff, Jahrbïcher des deutschen Reichs unter
Heinrich III.
J. Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Thorkel the Tall, -- ab. 1024, ~Eadgytha - and their son Harald Thorkilsson, --1042, ~Gunhild

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg 
Thorkel the Tall, --o.1024, Jarl, was the son of Strut-Harald, 
Jarl in Skåne.
At the magnificent wake for his father, which T.'s brother, Sigvald,
the Jomsborg-chief, let celebrate, Sigvald swore on his Brage-cup to go on an 
expedition to Norway to overthrow Hakon Jarl, and T. swore that he would accompany
his brother. The expedition took place shortly after, but in the unlucky battle
at Hjørungavaag the two brothers were both the first to take flight; in the
famous battle at Svold (1000) T. is said to have given Erik Jarl, Hakon
Jarl's son, the useful advice to put logs from his ship up to Olaf Tryggvasson's
ship «Ormen hin Lange», so the ship began to lean and they could
enter it. 
In the Danish expeditions to England during the next years took T. part together
with the Jomsborg-vikings (1009). After having conquered Canterbury (1012),
when the Vikings assailed the captured archbishop Aelfheah to force him to pay
ransom, T. tried in vain to save the archbishop's life by offering a big
reward to the warriors. Shortly after had T. an agreement with king Aethelred;
with a crew of 45 ships he went to serve him and undertook to defend the country,
if he was paid living and clothes for himself and his warriors. 
T. met his duty in the following years; he defended London with endurance and
courage , when king Svend attacked the town, (1013), and Aehtelred seeked refuge
with T. on his fleet; T. and his warriors were paid 21.000 pounds.

Shortly after came a change. After king Svend's death ( February 1014) the Anglo
Saxons made an attempt to surprise the Danes in their castles; T.'s brother 
Hemming was killed with all his crew. And T. left Aethelred and his case, he
sailed with 9 ships to Denmark and urged king Knud to attack England. With a large
fleet Knud went to England (1015) and subjected large parts of the country
during several struggles, in which T. took part, like at Ashington. At king
Edmund's death the same year Knud was elected king by all the people, and T. was
given the rule of one of the 4 large parts of the country, East Angel.

AFter king Knud had Eadric Streona killed, T. was for some years Knud's first
advisor and right hand. Upon the battle-field of Ashington Knud and T. built
together a church, and the church Bury St. Edmunds had a warm protector in T.; 
he appointed monks to do service instead of priests.
T. had married Eadric Streona's widow Eadgytha,a daughter of king Aethelred, 
and this made Knud suspicious. Since the king had planned to let England rule by 
the English only, he banished Denmark(1021). A few years later he reconciled 
with his old war comrade and turned over the management of Denmark to T. as a 
guardian for Harald, Knud's and Aelfgifu's son, (1023), but T. died shortly after,
according an unreliable English chronicle he was let down by the Danish chiefs 
and killed by the peasants. His son Harald was then by Knud appointed
regent in Denmark.

Munch, Det norske Folks Historie III.
Freeman, The Norman conquest I.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.
Stephen, Dictionary of national biography LVI.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Harald (Thorkilsson), --1042, Jarl, son of Thorkil the Tall, 
was married to Cnut the Great's sister's daughter Gunhild. Knud appointed in 1028 
H. as regent in Denmark and the Wendic possessions. When Magnus the Good after 
Hardicanute's death (June 1042) won Denmark's throne, was H. regarded as a
dangerous rival, and the Saxon duke's son Ordulf - who was married to Magnus' 
sister, let H. kill 13. November 1042, when he after a pilgrimage to Rome went 
through Holstein.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg


Monday, October 18, 2010

Svend Alfifasen, ab. 1015-ab. 1036, and Harald Harefoot, --1040, sons of Knud/Cnut the Great and Aelfgifu of Northampton.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Svend Alfifasen, o.1015-o 1036, king in Norway, was
a son of king Knud/Cnut the Great and his mistress
(consort) Aelfgifu, a daughter of ealdorman Aelfhelm
in Deira. When Knud married queen Emma (1017 ), he
sent Aelfgifu with her sons Harald and S. to Denmark.
S. was later appointed chief at Jomsborg.After Knud
had conquered Norway he let S., who by his side had
Aelfgifu and Harald, Thorkil Jarl's son, as advisors,
take over the rule (1030).

S. was, without contradiction, elected king at all
the land's things; he was handsome and benevolent,
and the Norwegians admitted that he kept good peace in
the country. Various laws, which he carried through,
awoke some aversion - several laws were adopted in the
later legislation, and his power-hungry mother was
hated; and since crop failures happened, and since
miracles were seen at the killed king Olaf's grave,
announcing his holyness, the public feeling turned
against the foreign rule, and the Thronds fetched
Olaf's son Magnus in Russia. At his arrival S. and
his mother had to flee to Denmark, where S. died
shortly after (ab. 1036).

Munch, Det norske Folks Hist. I, 2, 813 ff. 
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Harald Harefod, --1040, king, a son of Knud/Cnut
the Great and Aelfgifu of Northampton. When Knud
married Emma in 1017, he removed Aelfgifu and her
sons. H. was for a time king in Denmark with
Thorkel the Tall as his assistant and guardian;
later he resided in England. At Knud's death in
1035, the northern provinces and the sailors in
London - who was the pro-Danish part of the
country, and who did not like Knud's English-
National politics - joined with H., while the
land-army and the southern provinces acknowledged
Hardicanute.When his arrival to England was
delayed, and while Aelfgifu with gifts and tempting
banquets aimed at attracting Hardicanute's friends,
H. was elected king of all England in 1037,
whereafter Emma was chasen out of the country.

H.'s kingom did not last for long, since he after a
long sickbed died in Oxford 17. March 1040; he was
buried in Westminster. H. seemed to be of an
ambitious and violent character, and it was told
that he found more joy in hunts and dogs than in
church attendance.

Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Dictionary of National Biography XXIV. 
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canute the Great /Knud den Store, o. 995-1035, ~ Emma of Normandy, - 1052. (his consort before Emma was Aelfgifu of Northampton)

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
Canute the Great/Knud den Store, ab. 995-1035,
king of England, Denmark and Norway. K. was a son
of Svend Tveskæg (Sweyn Forkbeard) and Gunhild, a
daughter of hertug Miesko of Poland. Svend had after
many war expeditions conquered England, but when he
died 3 Feb. 1014, the ousted king Aethelred returned
from Normandy, and his son Edmund Ironside took
bravely up the fight with the Danes. K., who was
appointed king by the army, had to leave the country,
the hostages he had been given from the Anglo Saxons
were put ashore, mauled on nose, ears and hands.
In the North was realized though that England was now
ready to be taken by the Danes. Knud's brother
Harald, who was elected king in Denmark, and his
stepmother Sigrid Storråde's son, the Swedish king
Oluf , gave him ships for a new expedition, and the
Viking chief Thorkil the Tall came to his service.
With a splendid fleet of over 200 ships the attack
on England could take place (1015), but the brave
Edmund, who after his father's death, 23. April
1036, was elected king, gave in 6 great battles the
Danes the toughest resistance. The two army chiefs
therefore agreed in sharing the country, and in a
meeting at Olney in Severn the kingdom was divided,
K. got the northern part and Edmund the southern.
But Edmund died on 30. Nov. 1016, and this death
was so convenient that the chronicle-writers later
quite unfoundedly accused K. for having arranged
Edmund to be murdered by the traitor Eadric Streona.
Now was K. elected king of all England.

K.s politics at once intended to reconcile the
fighting parties and people.  He married (1017)
Aethelreds widow, Emma or Aelfgifu,a daughter of
hertug Richard I of Normandy, and it was decided
that K.'s and her sons became heirs to the throne.
The main part of the Danish fleet was sent back home,
and the Nordic chiefs, whom he in the first years
had given high positions, were gradually removed
from these, or they were exiled, while the Anglo
Saxons took their place. K. declaired, that the
existing laws, "King Edgar's Laws", had to be
maintained, and he joined closely church and clergy.
His kingdom had to rest upon national ground. But
K. had after his brother Harald's death (1018) also
won Denmark, and by new acquisitions his power soon
rose to a degree like an empire. In an expedition
in 1023 K. claimed power over large parts of the
south- and east coast of the Baltic Sea, he not only
controlled Jomsborg, he controlled several Slavic
people in Samland at the mouth of the river Weichsel.

When Norway's king Olaf den Digre (the Big) and the
Swedish king Anund Jacob joined against him, K. went
against them and fought a hard battle at Helgeå in
Skåne, (1026), but he did not win the battle. This
bad luck had to be revenged, and after K. by bribery
had won many supporters in Norway, he went there in
1028 with a fleet, which he had gathered in
Limfjorden. Without any battles he reached as far as
Nidaros, where he was celebrated king, and Olaf had
to leave the country.  Hakon, K.'s sister's son, was
made governor, but although the farmers at Stiklestad
(1030) destroyed Olaf's attempt to regain the country,
K.'s power rested upon weak feet. K. appointed his
son Svend governor or king in Norway, followed by his
mother Aelfgifu, the ealdorman Aelfhelm's daughter,
with whom K. had a relationship when young.  The
Norwegians found this foreign rule unbearable; the
killed Olaf's son Magnus was called back, and Svend
and Aelfgifu had leave. - K. had also to fight many
fights with the border-people in Wales, Cumberland
and Scotland, mostly with success.

But K. won his great name more by ruling in peace than
by wars and conquests. From the first day he showed
strange abilities in finding ways for his plans and
friends to work them out. His close connection to the
church was also very important. In his laws and public
messages to the people he always connected love for God
and for the king, religious belief and moral behaviour,
to keep the commands of the church and the secular laws,
and with a masterful hand he maintained both the power
of the state and the church. He supported churches and
kloster generously, and wisely he seeked papal support
for his power. A few months after the battle at Helgeå
he went to Rome and took part in emperor Conrad II's
coronation in St. Peter's Cathedral on Easter Day 1027.
It was the first time a Danish king visited Rome, and
it was certain  that the travel aimed at political
purposes to the pope and other princes. K. achieved
that emperor Conrad gave him the dispouted "danske Mark"
(Danish land) at the Eider. K.'s religious politics
were of great importance, especially to the still half
heathen Denmark, churches were built, the bishoprics
were changed, priests were summoned from England or
from other western districts, and klosters were

K.'s English laws were important because they created
a safe administration and a good order in the country,
and there is no doubt that he worked in the same way
in Denmark. In England he established an army of
3000 men, whose members (housecarls) were in a
brotherhood under a special law (vederlagsret): an
institution like this was made in Denmark, or the
English branched off to Denmark, where these laws soon
became important for the development of the aristocratic
landlords. Only few details from K's rule of Denmark
are known, but his influence is clear in the monetary

Many bad deeds which earlier were ascribed to K., have
been removed by new critics, or they are seen in another
light.His temper could make him violent, like when he
let his unreliable brother-in-law Ulf kill in Roskilde
Trefoldighedskirke. K. owned diplomatic ingenuity and
used often cunnings, but he was not faithless, either
hippocratic, he was a devout man, and the famous story
about how he acknowledged his scepter's lack of power
on the waves by the sea, is a good description of his
pious mind. He favored poetry and scalds; a stanza he
wrote is still preserved.

But like most members of his family his life was short.
He died in Shaftesbury 12. Nov. 1035 and was buried in
Winchester. That age called him "the rich" *c: mægtige
(great); when Denmark later had other kings by the name
Knud, he was named "the old", but the name "the Great"
was used from the late 12th century. By his sons'
incompetence and early deaths England was not in the
Royal Danish family for long.

With Aelfgifu he had 2 sons, Svend and Harald Harefoot ;
in his happy marriage to Emma he had the son Hardicanute
and the daughter Gunhild, who was married to Henrik III
of Germany.

Lappenberg, Geschichte v. England I.
Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III og IV.
Ersch u. Gruber, Allg. Encyklopädie, 2. Section, XXXVII.
Stephen, Dictionary of national biography IX.
A. D. Jørgensen, Den nord. Kirkes Grundlæggelse S. 435 f.
Olrik, Konge og Præstestand i den danske Middelalder I.

Emma (Ælfgifu), --1052, queen, was a daughter of
hertug Richard I of Normandy; she was in 1002
married to king Aethelred of England, which
marriage was very unhappy, caused by the king's
incompetence as regent and his adultery. E. was
by the Anglo Saxons named Aelfgifu/Ælfgifu, she
had with the king the sons Alfred, Edvard
( the Confessor) and Goda (Godgifu). When Svend
Tveskæg attacked in 1013, E. had to (and shortly
after Aethelred) to flee to Normandy, where
Aethelred died 23. April 1016. King Knud den Store,
Canute the Great,had in the meantime subjected
England; he now asked her hand in marriage, and
after he had promised that their eventual sons
became first heirs to the throne, the wedding took
place in July 1017. The year after gave E. birth to
the son Knud (Hardicanute) and later the daughter
Gunhild (married 1036 to king Henrik III of Germany).

Knud lived in a happy marriage with his beautiful
and clever wife. E. was called "Normannorum gemma",
the Norman jewel, especially by the clergy, which
she protected. At Knud's death 12. Nov. 1035 E.
tried to keep the kingdom for her absent son
Hardicanute, but he stayed too long in Denmark, why
Knud's illegitimate son Harald Harefoot gained more
influence and chased E. out of the country in 1037;
the count of Flanders gave her residence and protection
in Brügge. Urged by E. Hardicanute came to Flanders
with a fleet in order to attempt an expedition against
England, but then Harald Harefoot died (1040). E. went
to England with Hardicanute, who was crowned king. At
his death (1042) Edvard inherited the kingdom, and
already the next year he robbed E. of her riches
"because she had done too little to help him, both
before he became king and later"; yet she kept enough
for her support and lived in Winchester. She died in
Winchester 6. March 1052 and was buried next to Knud
in the cathedral.

Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.
Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Aelfgifu af Northampton (c. 990 – after 1040) was
an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who became the first
consort of King Cnut of England and Denmark, and
mother of king Harold I of England (1035–1040).
She served as regent of Norway from 1030 to 1035.
She is not to be confused with her rival, Emma of
Normandy, whose name could be rendered as Aelfgifu/
Ælfgifu in Old English,nor with king Aethelred's
first wife, Aelfgifu of York.
See: Aelfgifu af Northampton
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright